Unseasonal Heat To Blame As Runner Dies In Half Marathon

A superfit 21-year-old runner dropped dead just moments after he completed a half-marathon in soaring 30-degree temperatures in Eatern Spain.

The runner collapsed as he crossed the finish line in Elche, Alicante Province, on 12th March.

On-site medics treated him immediately before an ambulance rushed him to the city’s University General Hospital, where he later died.

His cause of death was given as a cardiac arrest.

A 21-year-old man being put on a stretcher by ambulance crew in Elche, Spain, on Sunday, March 12, 2023. He collapsed after crossing the finish line of the Elche Half Marathon, considered the oldest in the world, he was treated as soon as possible by the medical services and was urgently transferred to a hospital, where he died. (Newsflash)

Despite it being March, temperatures were close to 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) on the day of the 13-mile race.

It is not clear if the heat played a part in his death.

A spokesperson for the half-marathon said: “It is time to console his family and respect these moments of grief, all the members of Media Elche want to send a big hug to all his relatives and friends, and to all our participants.”

And Elche mayor Carlos Gonzalez added: “We deeply regret this mournful event on a day of sports celebration, especially on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of this beloved event for the people of Elche.”

Local media did not release the deceased runner’s name.

Long-distance races can be demanding on the body and may pose several risks to runners.

Potential dangers include dehydration, heat exhaustion or heat stroke, overuse injuries, cardiac events, hyponatremia, and respiratory issues.